Despite the fact that Florida isn’t quite living up to my expectations so far, one of the great joys of being here is our proximity to the beach. An hour or so East or West will see us on hot sand as we anticipate the thrill of throwing our hot bodies into the cold water of the Atlantic.
Our first trip to the beach was a Sunday spent at St Pete, which was lovely, but marred only by the fact that Dexter wasn’t quite sure of the water yet. He spent most of the time helping the sand into his little pink bucket.
We have also been to a beach in Melbourne, but unfortunately, when we got there it was a Red Flag day, which meant we couldn’t swim due to the dangerous conditions. And since then, we hadn’t really made any effort to hit the beach.
But we’ve spent plenty of time in the pool, which has helped Dexter to really start ENJOYING the water, rather than just tolerate it.
So this past Sunday, we made the most of a sunny summer day and hit up Cocoa Beach.
Dexter didn’t insist on being picked up and held the whole time. He was happy to hold our hands as he waded out into the surf, letting the waves crash into him and throw him backward, laughing uproariously the whole time.
He walked up and down the beach, catching admiring glances from scores of people, who all felt the need to comment on how beautiful his eyes are, how big he is (“He’s only 17 months?? My two year old is smaller than he is!”), and how shy he seems to be.
Each mouthful of sea water made him giggle, and while I was afraid the salt in his eyes might upset him, he took it all in his stride, simply enjoying himself.
He took great delight when daddy taught him that wet sand can be squeezed through his fingers and used to create giant ploppy sand sculptures.
Everyone was covered in a thick skin of wet sand, but no one seemed to mind.
Little man and I ran into the surf, jumping waves, and I held him tightly to my chest, relishing the feeling of holding my boy while another life grows inside of me. I think to the future, and how it will feel when I have two children to watch over. I smile silently to myself, wondering if we’ll have a little girl for me to fuss over or another fearless little boy who refuses to listen when we tell him to be careful…
Back on the beach, we take our dollar store beach ball and throw it into the air, where the wind catches it and tries to make away with it. But it, too, is coated with wet sand, and the extra weight is enough to keep it on the ground, where Dexter chases after it like a lost puppy.
We have to constantly reapply sun cream to our toe-headed little guy, and as he starts to look tired, I feed him snacks and give him a bottle of milk to keep him hydrated. He drinks it up like it is the nectar of life, and I admire his little form, covered in sparkly sand like some sort of Twilight-era vampire.
Eventually, after hours spent in the glorious sunshine, I feel that it is time to leave, and so I ready our possessions and we head back to the parking lot for a quick shower.
Daddy and Dexter rinse themselves off in the spray, but we’ll eventually still bring half of the beach back home with us, and it’ll be days before our hoover collects all the gritty particles from our foyer.
On the way home, daddy asks who wants Dairy Queen, and we stop at the nearest one. Dexter and I share hot dogs with ketchup, mustard and relish, and we sip our Orange Julius through a shared straw.
We also share kisses in our tiny booth, and I know that it has been a great day at the beach.